Saturday, June 28, 2014

Back to Normal

I've been away at the BSBI Welsh AGM and then busy with leading a walk in a reserve followed by some Geology around Tenby so it was nice to get back to some botanical recording on Thursday accompanied by members of the Brecknock Botanical recording Group, my co-recorder, Mike Porter, Steph Coates and Paul Green.

We were exploring Cae Bryntywarch Nature Reserve (Brecknock Wildlife Trust) in the hope we might refind Small White Orchid in the second site in the county where it has been seen in the last few decades. There was no luck with this and sadly several choice species previously seen at the reserve were no longer present, including Dyer's Greenweed and Butterfly Orchid. However, Carex montana was still well-established, if long-past flowering:

Soft-leaved Sedge, Hesgen feddal or Carex montana

There was plenty of Wood-Bitter-vetch:
Wood Bitter-vetch, Ffacbysen chwerw or Vicia orobus
some still flowering but much more with seed pods. (The above not taken this year...) Great Burnet was abundant as was Betony and many other good things which made the conundrum of the disappearing species even more baffling.

By the time we had explored the lanes around the list stretched to nearly 200 different species (slightly fewer if you discount the subspecies my more-expert colleagues were pointing out) and we scored a full set on my recording card of Dryopteris ferns (ie all the ones I expect to find at all often in Brecknock - five in all).
Tormentil, Potentilla erecta subsp. strictissima (a rare subspecies of a common plant)
Plus this cooperative and photogenic lizard.

And I took this in the car park in Brecon from which we shared cars to the reserve...

A gallery from the Welsh BSBI AGM and Tenby
Sea Spleenwort, Duegredynen arfor or Asplenium marinum high above the beach at Saundersfoot
Greater Knapweed, Y bengaled fawr or Centaurea scabiosa at Skrinkle Haven
Lesser Centaury, Y ganrhi goch fach or Centaurium pulchellum at Newport Wetlands Centre
Narrow-leaved Bird's-foot-trefoil, Lotus tenuis probably introduced in a seed mixture at Newport Wetlands Centre
Lily-of-the-valley, Lili’r dyffrynnoedd or Convallaria majalis at Black Cliff Wood
Geology at Saundersfoot...

Monday, June 16, 2014

Highs and meadows

This is one of my hasty ones. Off to Tintern soon for the BSBI Welsh AGM and plenty to do first...

Early last week I did a little recce of Tarren yr Esgob prior to our joint meeting coming up with the Monmouthshire recording group as I had never been there. It's a spectacular place and right on the border between our counties. 
View from above of the border area with an old enclosure below
Down at the enclosure

We will concentrate on this area so that records for both counties can be obtained. There is a very steep cliff with more botany (for the intrepid) further into Brecknockshire - another time perhaps.

Then we went to Cilmery to record the graveyard and a meadow near Llanganten Church Llanafan Fawr nearby where we found a relative rarity for Brecknockshire:
Meadow Barley, Haidd y maes or Hordeum secalinum, spotted by Steph and named by Ray Woods who was with us.

We found a surprising amount of the Stingless Nettle Urtica dioica subsp. galeopsifolia in the lane there and discovered that it graded into the stinging variety along the way.

Then we called in to Eglwys Oen Duw (delivering a hedgehog box) and visited a rare Lichen growing on an Oak by the roadside there.
Eglwys Oen Duw
Oak Lungwort or Lobaria pulmonaria

And Saturday saw the BWT / Wildflower Society meeting at Craig y cilau, ably led by Stephen Marshall. It was a great day with perfect weather.

This is what Steph was photographing:
Angular Solomon's-seal, Llysiau-Solomon persawrus or Polygonatum odoratum

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Old Trees and Unspoilt Meadows

Last week we had special permission to explore Rheld Wood and the meadows within it giving a good haul of species.

Rheld Wood
We weren't long into this patch before one of my sharp-eyed helpers spotted Adoxa moschatellina despite it being well past flowering.

We marvelled at this huge Scot's Pine with foliage towering above the canopy.

The Sweet Chestnut at Millbrook Bridge (just outside the restricted area) was a marvel and well worth a visit if you are walking in the Crickhowell area:
The Sweet Chestnut, Castanwydden bêr or Castanea sativa at Millbrook Bridge

Maybe this picture of the trunk gives a better idea of its scale:
(It was good spot to lunch)

We also saw many Hornbeams
Hornbeam, Oestrwydden or Carpinus betulus

... and quite a few planted Large-Leaved Limes.

I didn't photograph any of the smaller herbs - but this large one caught our attention and was indicative of the lack of intervention by man:
Giant Hogweed, Efwr enfawr or Heracleum mantegazzianum

So a good day, as I said - here we are at the bridge:
 (Picture by Sue Goodhead)
 Walking through a meadow
and with a magnificent large Oak
With this bracket fungus at the base